Friday, November 16, 2012

read books - not assigned - mostly for pleasure

I read an inspiring book this week, 
Book Love : Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers, by Penny Kittle

The power of this book is how it can inspire educators to think differently and move middle schools and high schools forward... creating passionate, voracious readers.

Pleasure reading has suffered under the assessment hysteria of the past decade and as a result adolescents are reading less. According to a 2007 NEA report, "Nearly half of all Americans aged 18 - 24 read no books for pleasure." Penny Kittle writes that the way forward is for young people to see themselves as part of a community that values reading as an enjoyable, lifelong activity.

What students read in school is important, but what they read the rest of their lives is most important. The highest priority is to inspire lifelong reading.

Some great points in Book Love: 

  • Every student needs to know the power of a reading life. 
  • Controlling what students read stifles readers. 
  • Assigned reading is a very narrow door to a reading life.
  • The measure of success is how students talk about themselves as readers.
  • When we learn to read well, we read differently.
  • Rereading is an opportunity to see more.
  • The purpose of personal reading is joy, curiosity, and interest.

By transforming a school culture to make reading engagement job one, you have the power to improve education, build communities, and quite possibly change the world.

As a side note, as I read this book I couldn't help thinking of Michael Pollan's catch phrase for his book In Defense of Food: eat food - not too much - mostly plants. And I kept changing that in my mind to: read books - not assigned - mostly for pleasure.

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